Death becomes her
David Pollock talks to Death Disco resident DJ Mingo-go as the club reaches its fourth birthday.
Celebrating its fourth anniversary with a four room extravaganza and a 4am licence, Death Disco is one of Glasgow’s most exciting clubs, as much for its gaudy promotional material as its consistently challenging and leftfield line-up. Presented as a kind of pimped-up bastard cross between a Studio 54 disco fantasy world and an under-the-radar New York warehouse party, could any club premises contain such extravagance and underground aspiration as well as the Arches?
Initially riding the zeitgeist of electroclash and outliving the scene’s death with a compulsive mixture of the club, rave and live environment - together with a bundle of unheralded guests you never even knew you wanted to hear until you walked in the door.
The line-up for this birthday bash is about as eclectic as you can get while still appealing to the right cross-section of adventurous clubbers. In the main room (the Death Disco room, naturally) we are promised sets by Belgian cut and paste duo and successful past guests, The Glimmers, JG Wilkes of long-time DD supporters Optimo, the club’s resident DJ Mingo-Go, and a live set by Glasgow’s Niallist.
The Saltlick room will see guest of honour Mylo DJing, alongside his label mates Linus Loves and Manhattan Project, and another live set by 2467. Scissor Sisters tour DJ Sammy Jo (another ex-DD guest) and Hush Puppy will be in the Record Playerz room, while Daniel Baldelli and Andrew Back take over in the Cosmic Room.
‘I’ve been involved with every Death Disco since the first one,’ reminisces Mingo-Go, ‘where I DJed alongside Manda Rin from Bis and we had The Cleaning Women from Finland live. That was an interesting night, they were kind of like a cross between performance art and industrial techno’. A note for newcomers: it’s not always this out-there. Other past guests have included Erol Alkan, Ladytron, FC Kahuna, David Holmes, Lady Miss Kier of Dee-Lite and 2 Many DJs with an utterly legendary first large-scale show in Scotland.
‘When the club started,’ continues Mingo-Go, ‘the guys at the Arches just wanted to do an electronic-based night with a punk vibe, to include live performances and bring people to Glasgow who weren’t usually playing there. And to concentrate on having a good fun, party atmosphere, without trying to be cool or hip, although the club has now become very cool without even really trying, which is always the best way.
‘When the night started we were trying to do things which were fairly obscure but still cutting edge, but it was very difficult. The live acts weren’t working so well in the space - it is a Saturday night, after all, and you’re competing with a lot of commercial clubs - so we moved towards booking more DJs. But the funny thing is, we can be a lot more obscure now than ever, because people know they’re going to have a party and the music’s going to be great. It’s the club’s reputation itself which brings people through the door these days.’